How to Build Self Discipline. A Lesson from Marcus Aurelius

Here is a short video I have found on youtube about self discipline from Stoic perspective. What can we learn from Stoic philosophy in general and from Marcus Aurelius in particular about self discipline?

What is self discipline in the first place? Why is it important? and how can we achieve it? These are the fundamental questions that are being addressed in this short and yet powerful video.

Developing self-discipline has always been a constant struggle for me. But exploring and delving into this particular ancient school of thought called Stoicism has helped me instile some discipline in how I live my life.

My favourite line in this short video: ‘if you want to be a writer, then write everyday’.

Advertisement

The Weekend Challenge: How To Manage Your Freetime?

In my previous post, The Daily Stoic: Who Gets the Lion Share?, I have mentioned that managing one’s free time is more challenging that managing the time we spend at work. Work is very important in our lives not only because it pays the bills, but it also give us structure and purpose. And if you are lucky, your work provides you a sense of fulfillment.

In that sense, the time we spend in our daily jobs – that 40 hours a week – has already acquired a sturecute. Hence, managing them is not so much of a challenge.

Managing our free time, however, is a different story. Based on my own personal experience, I have noticed that finding structure is more challenging during the weekends than during the weekdays. Ironically, it is when I am free that I somehow felt that I am imprisoned by not knowing what to do next.

Structuring my free time then has been my goal for quite some time. In this post, I would like to share the ways I have developed to give some order in my free time. The ultimate goal is to find the flow, so that I will not be bored nor feel anxious.

Continue reading

The Daily Stoic: Who Gets the Lion Share?

Aren’t you ashamed to reserve for yourself only the remnants of your life and to dedicate wisdom only that time can’t be directed to business?

Seneca, on the brevity of life, 3.5b

Do not get me wrong, I love my career and I am grateful to be able to do what I do. My work does not only provide me financial security, but also opportunities to learn and to grow. In my work, I find fulfillment.

Seneca – based on today’s quote from The Daily Stoic – seems to be dichotomizing work (business) one one hand and learning (wisdom) on the other. That may be true in most cases. But in my case, they are not always mutually exclusive. I find wisdom in my business.

However, my life does not revolve around my work alone. And my work does not determine who I am. It would be a waste if I devote all my time and life to it.

I also have other pursuit in life. Amongst them are learning new things, reading, and writing.

Continue reading

Daily Stoic: Character Is Fate

Each person acquires their own character, but their official roles are designated by chance. You should invite some to your table because they are deserving, others because they may come to deserve it.

Seneca, moral letters, 47.15b

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditation on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living is a book authored by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. In this book, the authors provide a quote on each day of the year from prominent Stoic thinkers.

Unlike other books, this book is not meant to be read one page after the other in one sitting. The readers would read the designated quote of the day and its commentary and to reflect on them. This is an invitation to evaluate our daily lives through the lense of Stoic philosophy.

Today’s quote is from Seneca’s moral letter in which he spoke about a person’s character as oppose to his/her chances in life. In this quite, we once again see the Stoic’s notion of dichotomy of control. The philosophy of stoicism teaches us to distinguish those aspects in our lives over which we have controle from those we have not.

Continue reading

A Beautiful Day in October

The weather is unbelievable. We are now on the last week of October and the weather is still so pleasant and a spring afternoon.

It was 17 degree celsius , the sun is shining, the sky is blue and clear but then with the spectacle of autumn colours. The day could have not been more perfect.

It is a beautiful day. Days like this one is rare. I must not waste it.

So after work, I have decided to change in my running outfit and then off I went. One of the many ways to celebrate this gorgeous day is with a run.

There was no specific goals today, except from enjoying a relaxing run. And with that, I am successful.

Nonetheless, I think I did well. I was running slowly but constantly.

My First Marathon Experience: The First of Many to Come

A week has already passed and I do still feel the same elation I felt last week during the marathon event. This year, I was not only a spectator of the event, but a participant, albeit just a quarter of a marathon.

Running 10,55 km within an hour is hardly a remarkable achievement. I did not really transcend my limitations. Nonetheless, I have had this profound sense of fulfilment, because I have managed to break my record.

From time to time, I run 10 km. My average time when running the 10 km is 1 hour and 15 minutes. Managing to complete the 10,55 km within an hour is for me a new record. So in that sense, I was successful.

After all, in undertakings such as this one, your opponent is not the people around you, but yourself. The goal is to beat your own record and be better than yourself yesterday.

It almost impossible to describe how i feel that day. I felt so elated, happy, and calm. My taking part of this event is almost a religious experience. The experience was rather spiritual and I am not exaggerating.

Continue reading

The Daily Stoic: The Vulnerability of Dependence

Show me someone how isn’t a slave! One is a slave to lust, another to greed, another to power, and all are slaves to fear. I could name a former Consul who is a slave to a little old woman, a millionaire who is the slave of the cleaning woman… No servitude is more abject than the self-imposed.

seneca, moral letters, 47.17

It is such a wonderful weather today especially for the month of September. This beautiful bright day is a gift. To honour this gift, I went out with my dog for a run. Running with my dog on this fantastic day made me think about today’s Stoic quote from Ryan Holiday’s and Stephen Hanselman’s The Daily Stoic.

Today’s Stoic quote is from the Moral Letters of Seneca.

Seneca is one of the most well-known proponents of Stoic Philosophy. His philosophical reflections on Stoicisms have come down to us today through his series of letters and essays called the Moral Letters to Lucilius. In his letters, Seneca grapples with the questions on moral problem people live in their daily lives.

Continue reading

When My Evil Twin Brother Called Anxiety Lurks Around: How I Deal with Anxiety

It was not a particularly a pleasing weather that day. It was cold, windy and grey. It poured from time to time. And I was feeling a little bit blue. This weather is a reflection of my mood that day.

My evil twin brother called anxiety is once again lurking around. I can feel his presence. To distract myself, I went out for a run.

While running, I took a different route than I usually do. The road has brought me into this beautiful place I have never been before (see photo above and video bellow). I am so happy with this discovery.That run has really cheered me up.

Anxiety has always been a part of my life. It still is and it will always be. I have already made peace with it. Most of the time, I am ok. But then there are times that – out of the blue – my twin brother will visit me.

Continue reading

5 Reasons Why We Should Make Writing a Part of Our Daily Life

Writing is one of the many important aspect of a Stoic life. Stoics regularly reflect on their thoughts and examine their feelings. They do so by writing their thoughts and feelings on their journal. After all, we organise our thoughts through writing.

I am already an avid diarist even before I have been exposed to this ancient philosophy of Stoicism. My love for writing is perhaps one of the many reasons why Stoicism resonated to me so much. Like the proponents of Stoicism in antiquity, I have also acquired a passion in writing: I just cannot not write.

I imagine Marcus Aurelius waking up early in the morning and writing his meditations as he prepares himself for the day ahead. Or Seneca sitting at his desk and writing about his evaluation of the day that has passed. Both Marcus Aurelius and Seneca are proponents of Stoicism. The former was an emperor while the latter was a politician.

Continue reading

The Daily Stoic: Dealing with Haters

What if someone despises me? Let them see to it. But I will see to it that I won’t be found doing or saying anything contemptible. What if someone hates me? Let them see to that. But I will see to it that I’m kind and good natured to all, and prepared to show even the hater where they went wrong. Not in a critical way, or to show off my patience, but genuinely and usefully

Marcus aurelius, meditations, 11.13

Stoicism teaches us to look inwardly to ourselves and evaluate our thoughts and feelings. And the best way to do this is through keeping a journal. Like many other Stoics, Marcus Aurelius was a prolific diarist.

His writings have been handed down to us, which we now call the Mediations. The above quotation is an extract from his journal.

Being one of the most powerful and important man in his time, it is not too far fetch to think that many would have hated him. After all, no one can please everybody no matter how benevolent a leader might be.

Continue reading